Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Top 5 Dream Jobs

K, I'll get us started off...

Ryan's Top Five

1. Novelist, US, 1920s-1930s - Pros: get to hang out with William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Probably learned your trade from Sherwood Anderson in a southern city--Pensacola? Cons: seriously heavy alcoholism which leads to a crappy screenwriting career in the 1940s for cash to pay off massive debt. Novels don't become famous until the 1950s and later.

2. General Manager, Kansas City Royals [Insert your favorite team here] - Pros: I can't really imagine a better life than getting paid to watch my team play baseball, while having the ability to impact the game immensely. Cons: David Glass needs to sell the team first.

3. Bookstore owner, independent-but-well-to-do business in upscale part of town that retains uniqueness, i.e. isn't suburban sprawl - Pros: you get to spend your entire day in a bookshop, which will have one, possibly two (but no more) cats. Free fountain drinks from the cafe. The ability to choose which books to display, or to even carry in the store (hasta la vista, Ann Coulter). Cons: Dealing with all the stuff that I imagine a bookstore owner has to deal with, like, business-y stuff.

4. Tennis phenom, a la Roger Federer - Pros: mastery of an incredibly athletic sport that is one of the most dignified sports around--e.g., your sport's most famous championship is sponsored by Rolex and is not hosted by Dane Cook. Cons: Endless hours of practice, work, physical exertion, etc.

5. Architect - Actually I just wanted to steal this joke before anyone else could. Moving on...

5. Writer/Director, movies and HBO-quality TV shows - Pros: fame, fortune, and you get to create special features for your DVD releases, and do audio commentary. Cons: You inadvertently inspire crappy network knockoff shows.

*I wrote the following and then decided I'd rather be a writer/director. But hell if I'm deleting it.*

6. Singer/songwriter, present day, "alternative/acoustic/rock/pop" (roughly myspace's categorization of Badly Drawn Boy) - Pros: You get to do a lot of the same stuff that many did in the 60s/early 70s, but it's original since few have done it well since--i.e., big-fish-small-pond appeal. You enjoy enough success to keep you in a nice house for life, but not too much, so that you retain credibility and get to play smaller, cooler venues on tours. Cons: Fans get angry when you don't put out at least one album per year, which, given my work ethic, would be a near certainty. Fans don't appreciate countless live albums and "best of's".

Dan's Top 5:

1. Record Producer/Engineer, 1965-1975 - Pros: get to meet best artists of rock history and be responsible for making them sound good. Also, get to make good money and only true fans would appreciate my work. Cons: may die before my time of a drug overdose, but what a great way to die.

2. Owner and Operator of a Diner - Pros: get to cook great-tasting food, and be familiar and friendly with "regulars". Customers will be amiable people who shun corporate fast food joints. Cons: will probably not do amazingly well, having to compete with franchises. Would also probably require a hefty investment to get started.

3. Composer for Films - Pros: get to write film themes, and possibly win an Oscar. Get to meet numerous directors, and maybe other composers such as Danny Elfman and John Williams. Cons: will never actually be as good as Danny Elfman or John Williams.

4. National Geographic Photographer - Pros: get to travel the world and take some of the most amazing photographs ever seen, without the added burden of writing articles that get skimmed over in doctors' offices. Cons: constant risk of injury, disease or death.

5. Film Writer/Director - Pros: get the opportunity to reveal artistic visions to the world and still manage to achieve financial success. Cons: likely subject to being either over- or underrated, and I'd imagine being snubbed for an Oscar would really suck.

Tory's Top Five

1. Film Writer/Director - Pros: Get to fulfill my actual dream of directing movies, and get a sense of accomplishment for filming the scripts I've completed in reality. Cons: Possibility of people not liking movies or production companies financing the movies sticking their noses into the creative control, and not having final cut. Budgets.

2. Musician, almost any kind - Pros: Always enjoyed singing, but I cannot play guitar (I can play bass though.) Get to hang out with tons of musicians on tour, and write for a living. Cons: I can't sing that well.

3. Chef/Restaurant Owner - Pros: The two go hand-in-hand as I would love to own my own restaurant, and have recently become enamored with the career of a chef. Creating a menu seems like one of the most fun things to do ever. Cons: Money problems.

4. Owner of the Jaguars - Pros: Get to surround my life with football on the off and regular season. Make moves and trades and pickups. Be in the war room for the draft. Cons: None.

5. Playwright c. 1940s - Pros: Get to hang out with Tennessee Williams, Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett and tons of other writers. Get to involve myself in the beginnings of theatre of the absurd and have an insane sense of accomplishment. Cons: A lot of people would insult my work as pretentious.

Tim's Top 5:
1) Stand-up comedian - Work the Improv, maybe Carnegie Hall, but it's not really my style. work three hours a night, dress is casual, pay is incidental, but relatively irrelevant given that you're always on the road; see the finest cities in the U.S., but find yourself stuck in Omaha at the Funny bone if you're J. Medicine Hat. Release my elusive comedy album, get paid for what I do during the day anyway. Upside: I already have some experience and lots of material; there's serious potential for cross-over money from semi-reputable operations like Demetri Martin or Lewis Black on The Daily Show, some seasons of SNL. Downside: It's terrible money even if you're famous; it's a reverse meritocracy where Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy, and Jeff Foxworthy become millionaires, Todd Barry probably sleeps in an Amana box in Queens. Anytime the best thing that can happen for you is a sitcom deal....usually a sign that you're half a step up from a whore, and it's more of a procedural step rather than one of substance.

2) Curator, Baseball Hall of Fame - Perform baseball's own versions of revisionist history, be relatively well-compensated if necessary to ensure that the museum remains a non-profit, Downsides: have to attend ceremonies honoring middling players. Upside: live in Cooperstown, the happiest place on earth, or certainly in upstate New York. Get to "misplace" Bud Selig's tickets for events. Downside: There's altogether too much history you can't eliminate, you still have a marketing aspect to the job, so you can't write off the Red Sox world series win as a boring World Series that means no more than the 1990 Reds' sweep; have to pretend that Ozzie Smith (or Phil Rizzuto, I don't care if he's dead, he was not that good) is somehow more deserving of being in the Hall of Fame than Dave Concepcion just because he did some flips and ruined This Week in Baseball.

3) Feature film Director - Writing's fine and all, and I could easily envision myself being the next Stanley I used to do. But let's be honest, if you're directing, you are wielding enough power that you can functionally recreate the script anyway. Hitchcock did it every time. As a director, I'd take an eclectic mix of major market projects -- The Green Hornet would be the first such project -- and intellectual comedies (these I'd be writing) that seem British without actually involving British people. Upsides: money money money, I get to tell Nicolas Cage what to do "No, Nic...don't play the role that way, throw yourself off a bridge -- and Adaptation sucked."; downsides: I will inevitably end up directing Vin Diesel movies or lighthearted retarded comedies starring former pro wrestlers that have lines like "it stood up to a 300 pound linebacker, it'll do" even though any retarded screenwriter writing an awful football/family comedy starring the Ro ck would still have thought "linebackers never weigh 300 pounds...that's a lineman". Or the Rock should have said something, the guy did play football. I'm just saying, that's all...Hollywood is a bitch goddess. (Incidentally, said movie "The Game Plan" was written by two women...and that's still no excuse. What's more, it needs to stop being shown in trailer form before movies I want to see. I am not a family, nor am I 8 years old.)

4) Author - mid-1980s - Choose Your Adventure Series - It's like being an author, except you don't have to make any can shed all concepts of quality writing but act out all your lust for vengeance on all those fools who choose to enter the cave and turn to page 31 instead of waiting for the park ranger to arrive (turn to page 18). Upsides: you can churn out a book in three hours and insert hidden messages to children that they only discover if they read the books in page order. Titles are easy : you are a _______. Downsides: writing for children has to be incredibly difficult, writing to an 8th grade level in the newspaper was impossible enough; you probably make about $5.15 an hour.

5) Dean, Thomas Jefferson Law School - Perhaps the second most achievable of my dream jobs (right after the invention of the time machine allows me to achieve #4), this job has substantial upsides... Upsides:Thomas Jefferson law school is in San Diego, California; it is immensely disreputable among ABA accredited law schools, so the standards for success are lower and I don't have to keep publishing articles and books just to save my job; Downsides - it still involves law students, and quite likely some really stupid law students. If I've made it to be a law school dean, presumably I actually did accomplish something, so I would probably not be satisfied to be the dean of the lousiest law school around; I really don't like the Padres or Chargers much.

Honorable mention: Mel Kiper Jr. (job only, not identity); Supreme Court justice; General manager of the Cincinnati Bengals

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